Maria of Trebizond
Maria Megale Komnene (Greek: Μαρία Μεγάλη Κομνηνή), known as Maria of Trebizond (Greek: Μαρία της Τραπεζούντας), (died 17 December 1439) was the third wife of the Byzantine emperor John VIII Palaiologos (r. 1425–1448). She was the last empress consort of the Byzantine Empire.
In September, 1427, Maria married John VIII Palaiologos in Constantinople, having arrived by ship from Trebizond earlier that year on 29 August; the connection had been negotiated through ambassadors sent from Constantinople the previous year. George Sphrantzes describes her as Maria Komnene, daughter of Alexios the Emperor of Trebizond, and places the ceremony in year 6936 of the Byzantine calendar and thus establishes the date. The Ecthesis Chronica calls her Maria Katakouzene (Katakouzene was a variant of Kantakouzene) and extols her exceptional beauty which caused John VIII to love her dearly. The wedding was recorded in the history of Doukas, who simply calls her Maria, daughter of Alexios.
John VIII had previously married twice. His first wife Anna of Moscow had died in 1417. His second marriage to Sophia of Montferrat had been dissolved in 1426. John remained childless and pursued the marriage in hopes of gaining heirs of his own. The marriage lasted twelve years but resulted in no children. Sphrantzes records the date of her death, while John was away in Italy; Steven Runciman attributed her death to bubonic plague. She was buried in the church of the Pantokrator monastery in Constantinople. John Eugenikos, brother of Mark Eugenikos of Ephesus, composed a lament for her death.
John never remarried and died childless on 31 October 1448. He was succeeded by his younger brother Constantine XI. Constantine was a widower when he ascended to the throne and never married again. His reign ended with the Fall of Constantinople (29 May 1453) and with it the end of the Empire, leaving Maria the last Empress.
- William Miller is error saying she "married the Byzantine Emperor John VI., just as her aunt Eudokia had married his grandfather John V": John VI Kantakouzenos was co-emperor with John V. This mistake is easily explained by the loss of two characters, either by Miller's pen or the typesetter's fingers. Trebizond: The last Greek Empire of the Byzantine Era: 1204-1461, 1926 (Chicago: Argonaut Books, 1969), p. 80
- Donald M. Nicol, The Byzantine family of Kantakouzenos (Cantacuzenus) ca. 1100-1460: a genealogical and prosopographical study (Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, 1969), p. 171 and note
- Runciman, The Fall of Constantinople, 1453 (Cambridge: University Press, 1965), p. 21
- Runciman, Fall of Constantinople, p. 521
- Cawley, Charles, Her listing, along with her husband, ., Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012
-  Portrait by Pisanello thought possibly a portrait of Maria.
Maria of TrebizondBorn: ? Died: 1439
Sophia of Montferrat
|Byzantine Empress consort
End of the Byzantine Empire